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Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, LGBT, Women in Science
AIP and its Member Societies are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the physical sciences. In honor of Pride Month and LGBTSTEM Day, we have gathered some resources that support the LGBTQ+ community of scientists. Also highlighted are contributions from the LGBTQ+ community to science and humanity that are worthy of celebration.
LGBTQ+ people in science, technology, engineering, and math continue to struggle to openly be themselves. That's why AIP is proud to partner with organizations around the world on LGBTSTEM Day, which will be celebrated on Nov. 18, 2020. We believe that a day of recognition could go a long way in helping raise awareness and increase support. We want this to be a new and important component of the global push to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM.
There’s no such thing as too small a gesture to promote and support LGBTQ+ people in STEM. You can start by checking out our resources below, following and contributing to the #LGBTSTEMday hashtag on social media — share stories, images and videos of yourself or your role models — and helping to boost the visibility of other LGBTQ+ people in science, tech, engineering, and math.
I participated in the RTNN Anti-Racism Town Hall, and delivered many of the remarks I thought about at the #ShutDownSTEM conference at JSNN. I truncated them for brevity. There were over 200 member universities on the call, including my Dean. My remarks sparked one research at Harvard to recall he was discriminated against most fully in graduate school at Stanford, and his son was accused of cheating on a middle school math test because he was African American and the only one that passed it. His father, a chemist, pointed out "how could he have cheated, when there was literally no one else he could have copied from?" An Ethiopian researcher, also a chemist, recounted she was asked by colleagues if "she knew what a Ph.D. meant?" The conference didn't strive to solve all problems in an hour and a half, but it did spark discussion and inspired this posting.
Note: RTNN = Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network with North Carolina State University; JSNN = Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, a collaboration between North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
I was also good friends with a gay man that was a fellow math teacher at Manor High School. We've kept up on Facebook and have interesting conversations regarding culture. He's strongly anti-racist, and he pitches ideas to me regarding culture and where we are at any given moment or movement in our society. I appreciate his candor. I also appreciate when I was deciding to go to graduate school, he was one of the many friends that pushed me along. It's a difficult decision to make a choice to leave the comfort of a paycheck and gain understanding that you likely wouldn't get from a 3-day seminar sponsored with lunch by your company. He did the same and pursued a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. I am grateful for his encouragement and inspiration.
In Austin, Texas, I also am good friends with a gay performance poet and literary editor of several journals: we're also friends on Facebook, despite the inclinations of the platform extending favors to the alt-wrong and nauseous Nazis. He is also strongly anti-racist, which is a term I use to distinguish from just the empty pronouncements "I'm not racist," or "I don't see color." We keep up on the poetry happenings in Austin as well as political news that we both comment on.
I admire both men. As I admire Alan Turing, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry; Langston Hughes. They are American icons, oft-quoted, or in the case of Turing, the father of the platforms we so enjoy on laptops, I-Pads and cellphones. They were also, as my friends, gay.
The pursuit of science and art are human endeavors. Those endeavors have no bearing on what god those humans revere, or who they chose to love.
At this juncture, post-Charlottesville, post-Ahmaud Arbery, post-Breonna Taylor, post-George Floyd, post-Tulsa, "We The People" means ALL the people: so-called black and white (there is only ONE race: the human race, everything else is politics); gay and straight. One cannot demand rights for one group and exclude them for another, especially when you name them as close friends you've had fellowship with off social media platforms.
I thank John and Scott (first names only) for being friend I can count on. They've never met, actually. But rest assured, I've met them and admire their daily courage of being themselves, fully and openly, contributing mightily to science and art.
Pride Month and LGBTSTEM Day, American Institute of Physics